Pope Francis has sent a message offering consolation and hope to families of the victims of the 2004 Cromañón nightclub fire that claimed the lives of 194 young people in Buenos Aires.
The Pope’s message,
addressed to Bishop Jorge Lozano, President of the Argentinian Bishops’
Commission for Social Pastoral activities, was read out at the Cathedral
of Buenos Aires on Monday, during a special liturgy presided by the
Archbishop of the Argentinian capital, Msgr Mario Poli, marking the 9th anniversary of that tragic event December 30th.
When the fire ravished the local nightclub in 2004, Pope Francis, then Jorge Bergoglio, was Archbishop of Buenos Aires.
his message, Pope Francis said, “In these days in which hope is
renewed, I cannot forget the young people of Cromañón, their parents and
He asked Bishop Lozano to tell them that he recalls
that terrible day and wishes to express his closeness with them.
wounds hurt and they hurt even more when they are not treated with
tenderness,” the Pope wrote. He encouraged the families to treat their
wounds with “care and tenderness” and look to the “Child Jesus who is
tenderness itself,” for comfort.
The Pope acknowledged that it is
not possible to “hide” their wounds, but at the same time they should
not be “denied.” “Only a tender caress, from our heart, in silence,
with respect, can give comfort.”
Wishing them a Holy Christmas,
the Holy Father invoked the Lord’s all-encompassing compassion as father
“to teach us all not remain alone and to continue on, seeking out the
company” of others.